VeganMoFo: Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

IMG_2206

There’s a farmer’s market in front of my office twice a week – on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I get so excited with anticipation as to what veggies will show up on any given day. I love being surprised as the seasons change. I especially love the colors that await me as I climb out of the subway station and over to the booths.

I recently came upon this beautiful pink eggplant. If you haven’t tried this variety, I highly recommend you do. It is more tender and has a softer eggplant flavor than other varieties. It lends itself to more recipes and doesn’t need to be treated prior to cooking to remove bitterness.

And the colors of the eggplant…love it!

IMG_2201




Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant
Ingredients:

4 small pink eggplants
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 package of extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1 red pepper, diced
5 oz. cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cups quinoa, cooked (I used the tri-color blend)
3 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce.
3 tsp. salt
3 tsp. ground pepper flakes
3 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
3/4 cup Daiya Vegan Cheese (mozzarella or cheddar would work in this)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

Wash the eggplants. Slice them down the middle lengthwise.

Scoop out the eggplant leaving a 1/2 inch skin all around. Chop up the scooped out eggplant.

IMG_2203

Heat up a large saute pan. Add the olive oil.

Add in the onions and cook for a few minutes. Add in the chopped garlic and crumbled tofu.  Cook for a couple of minutes.

Add chopped eggplant to the pan and the other chopped veggies. Cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the quinoa, spices and Daiya cheese. Make sure everything is incorporated well together.

Taste the mixture to see if it needs additional salt or other spices.

Place the eggplant shells in a large baking pan.

Place a heaping amount of the eggplant/veggie/quinoa mixture back in to the eggplant shells.

Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Bake in oven for about 30-40 minutes.

Enjoy!

IMG_2206
veganmofo

Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentil Sloppy Joes

I was browsing through the grocery store the other day, and I came across an end cap that held rows and rows of Manwich. I haven’t had that stuff in years, if ever. A while back though, I made some homemade sloppy joes for the kids and they were a big hit, if a bit messy. I don’t know which part they liked more – the saucy hands or the taste of the saucy meat.

Anyhow, Sloppy Joes brings back some good food memories. Not eating meat anymore, I decided to turn it in to a vegetarian treat and use lentils as my base. It turned out really great!



Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes
Ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 10 oz. package of mushrooms, chopped
1 can of lentils, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup of tomato sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground pepper

Hamburger Buns or Kaiser Rolls for serving
Cole Slaw (optional) for serving in the Sloppy Joe’s

Directions:

Heat a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add in the oil.

Add in the chopped onions and cook until soft.

Add in the garlic, peppers, celery and mushrooms. Cook a few minutes.

Add in the lentils and the broth and cook a minute.

Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook 5-10 minutes. Let it come to a boil and then simmer for about 5 minutes.

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Spoon mixture over some slightly hollowed out kaiser rolls. I like topping mine with a bit of coleslaw for a tangy crunch!

Yum! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup red pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • ½ 10 oz. package of mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 can of lentils, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ cup of tomato sauce
  • ⅓ cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground pepper
  • Hamburger Buns or Kaiser Rolls for serving
  • Cole Slaw (optional) for serving in the Sloppy Joe’s

Instructions
  1. Heat a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add in the oil.
  2. Add in the chopped onions and cook until soft.
  3. Add in the garlic, peppers, celery and mushrooms. Cook a few minutes.
  4. Add in the lentils and the broth and cook a minute.
  5. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook 5-10 minutes. Let it come to a boil and then simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Spoon mixture over some slightly hollowed out kaiser rolls. I like topping mine with a bit of coleslaw for a tangy crunch!
  7. Enjoy!

 

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Orecchiette with Caramelized Onions and Mushroom Sauce

I love pasta. Who doesn’t?

The best part about pasta is that my kids tend to love it–no matter what I put on it. Top it with veggies and some Parmesan cheese and they are happy campers.

Another reason I love pasta is because of all of the wonderful shapes it comes in. Every shape has a it’s benefits – based on how it sticks or holds whatever toppings you pair it with. One of my favorite pasta shapes is Orecchiette. The name of the pasta comes from it’s shape – the ear. Though my daughter thinks it resembles a hat more than an ear. We won’t go there. I love the shape and it’s consistency. I also love the way it grabs on to the toppings.

This recent pasta dinner was super easy to make – you just have to have a little bit of patience with the onions. I love onions, especially caramelized onions. They cook by themselves and require very little effort – my kind of meal. With the addition of some meaty baby bella mushrooms, the dish is complete.




Orecchiette with Caramelized Onions and Mushroom Sauce
Ingredients:


1 lb orecchiette pasta
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 large onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
10 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped thyme
1/4 cup half & half
1/4 parmesan cheese

Directions:

Cook pasta according to the directions on the box. Cook to
al dente, reserving about 3/4 cup of the cook water. Strain the pasta. Do not rinse it. Set aside.

While pasta is cooking, work on the onions. 

Slice the onions in to thin strips. Heat up a pan with olive oil and butter. Add the onions. Let them cook on medium with a lid for about 20 minutes. You will see them begin to caramelize. 


After 20 minutes, add the garlic, mushrooms and thyme. Let it cook for a bit longer. 


After another 7 minutes or so, add in the half & half and the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir.  Add in the pasta water and the pasta. Stir everything up.


Serve and enjoy!

IMG_1695

Meatless Monday: Mushroom and Sage Pasta with Poached Egg

I’m like a kid when it comes to my herb garden. Every day after work, I get a little excited as I run to the backyard to see how things are going. How much did my basil grow? What’s the sage doing  now? I love that I don’t have to run out and buy my herbs. I just take a little pair of kitchen shears out with me and make a few snips.

My sage plant is looking pretty impressive these days. Perfect for an easy dinner. I love the way sage pairs well with mushrooms. My mouth began to water as I thought about how dinner would turn out. 


Mushroom and Sage Pasta with Poached Egg (serves 3-4)
Ingredients:

1/2 box of thin spaghetti (cooked to al dente, reserve 1/2 cup cooking water)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
3 shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped sage leaves
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1/2 container Cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
Parmesan cheese, grated
salt
ground pepper
2-3 tsp. red pepper flakes
3-4 eggs

In a large pan, heat up the butter and olive oil.

Toss in the shallots and the garlic. Let them get fragrant.

Add in the mushrooms and chopped sage and thyme and saute for a few minutes.

Deglaze the pan with some white wine.

Stir in about 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and some of the cooking water.

Add in some salt and freshly ground pepper and the red pepper flakes.  Taste a noodle to see if it needs more seasoning.

Let the pasta cook in the mushroom sauce.

Now it’s time to poach your eggs.  They only need a couple of minutes.

While the eggs cook a bit, plate up your pasta. Make a small indentation and place the egg there.

You want the egg to be runny. Stir the runny yolk in to the pasta.

Serve with some additional Parmesan cheese and a twist of ground pepper.

Enjoy!

mushroom and sage pasta with poached egg

Italian Sausage and Mushrooms Over Creamy Polenta

Tonight was the kind of night where I looked up at the clock and noticed that it was almost 6pm and I had no idea what to make for dinner. Oops. To my credit, nobody was famished. Everyone more of less grazed throughout the early afternoon. Lunch didn’t happen at a normal time. Dinner wasn’t really expected, but it was assumed that it would happen eventually.

Looking around, I saw that I had a few things that needed to be used up. Looking at an almost empty bag of coarse ground cornmeal. It seemed like a perfect night for polenta. I usually buy those tubes of prepared polenta at Trader Joes and then bake them up. I wanted something a bit different tonight.

I remember going out for dinner with my parents as a tween in the Loring Park area. The restaurant doesn’t exist anymore, but I still remember the food. The only thing that seemed appealing to my twelve-year-old self, when my parents explained the menu, was a polenta dish. I had never had polenta before, and there must not have been pasta on the menu. Cheese appealed to me. I remember it being served to me, very creamy and cheesy. It was some simple, awesome form of comfort food. I haven’t had it served like that since. I had to make some semblance of it. Eyeing the Italian faux sausages, I decided to chop them up and saute them with mushrooms and garlic, along with some tomatoes, to serve over the creamy polenta. Dinner was perfect. We walked away from the table happy and full.
Italian Faux Sausage Mixture
Ingredients

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 package of Trader Joes Italian Faux Sausage – sliced
1 – 10 oz. package of mushrooms, sliced – I like baby bellas
1 can of diced tomatoes – I use the flavored kind
Basil, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
salt
pepper

Polenta
Ingredients

4 cups water
salt
1 cup coarse ground corn meal
2 tablespoons butter
lemon pepper
2 tablespoons grated parmesean
2 tablespoons grated mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon grated monterey jack cheese
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon ricotta

***Note: You may have noticed the odd assortment of cheeses. I was using some things up. It worked in this dish. You can play around with the cheeses.
To make the polenta:
In a small sauce pan, bring your 4 cups of water to a boil. Add salt to the boiling water. Slowly pour in the corn meal. Whisk the mixture. Add in the butter. Keep whisking. Turn the heat down to bring the corn meal mush to a simmer. Let it simmer for 10 minutes or so – whisk every so often. Before you are ready to serve, add the cheeses and spice mixture to the polenta and stir.
For the sausage mixture:
In a large saute pan, start sauteeing the onion and garlic in some olive oil. Toss in the sausage slices. Saute for 4 minutes or so. Add in the mushrooms. Saute for another 4-5 minutes. Add in the tomatoes. Saute for a bit. Let some of the liquid evaporate off. Stir in the herbs.

Spoon the polenta on to a plate. Serve the sausage mixture over the polenta. Enjoy! I know we did!

Zucchini and Mushroom Saute over Couscous

I came home from work, picked up the kids, and took said kids to swim lessons – with a dinner plan in mind. The plan was to dine one a yummy salad, some grilled chicken, and some sushi rice. It was a Monday. Things can never go as planned. I opened the fridge and saw that the chicken was still frozen, popsicle frozen. It was already 7pm. I had about five minutes before my six-year-old would self-combust with screams of “I’m Hungry!” I had to do something. I offered tuna or salmon salad. She would have none of it. I found some baby hot dogs. I grilled them up with some onions and served them to her with some ketchup, sliced cucumbers and tomato, and some baby dill pickles.
Now what was I going to eat? Eyeing the fridge and the pantry, I came up with a concoction that was tasty and met the task at hand.

Monday Rushed Dinner – Served over some whole wheat couscous

3 shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
½ large zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
5 Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
1 Veggie Italian Sausage by Lightlife, diced
½ cup of cooked or canned cannellini beans
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ cup of vegetable broth
Chopped Fresh Basil
Chopped Fresh Thyme
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper

 

Sautee the shallots and garlic in olive oil. Add in the Zuchini and squash. Add the “sausage.” Add the rest of ingredients. Cook it on medium heat for 15 minutes. It mushes up a bit. The broth gives it some sauciness.
I served it over couscous, but it would be just as good over rice or pasta even. Enjoy! Have a good week!

1 2